By SCOTT MACNAB for The Scotsman
Electric “shock” collars for dogs are to be banned in Scotland with immediate effect, amid concerns that they are “cruel and ineffective”, the Scottish Government has announced.
The collars are used to train dogs through the use of small shocks, but have come under fire from animal rights activists and opposition politicians. MSPs are Holyrood are scheduled to debate proposed new laws by Tory MSP Maurice Golden on Thursday which had been drawn up to introduce a ban.
But environment secretary Roseanna Cunningahm today announced she had decided to act immediately after hearing concerns on the issue.
“After carefully considering the concerns raised by stakeholders and the public about electronic training collars for dogs, particularly the ready availability on the internet of cheap devices which can be bought by anyone and used to deliver painful electric shocks, I have decided to take steps to effectively and promptly ban their use in Scotland,” Ms Cunningham said.
“Causing pain to dogs by inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.”
The ban was welcomed by Harry Huyton, director of animal charity OneKind.
He said: “Electric shock collars are cruel, unnecessary and ineffective. I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has today taken a stand against cruelty and taken decisive action against their use.”
The collars are already banned in Wales, but remain in use in England. The ban will be introduced through guidance issued under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Mr Golden said: “I am very pleased the Scottish Government is finally announcing a ban on the use of electric shock collars for dogs, that they have listened to our campaign, and to the 20,000 people who signed my petition.
“I’m glad that our campaigning has finally forced the SNP to see sense on this issue; that electric shock collars are harmful, and the expert advice is clear that electrocuting dogs doesn’t help train them.”
It has been estimated that up to half a million dog owners across the UK use the collars which can provide shocks lasting up to 30 seconds.
They are already outlawed in Wales where their use can be met with a fine of up to £20,000 or six months in prison.